Awkwafina on why you'll laugh and cry over her new film 'The Farewell'

The actress appears on "Popcorn with Peter Travers," and talks about the making of "The Farewell."
19:27 | 07/19/19

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Transcript for Awkwafina on why you'll laugh and cry over her new film 'The Farewell'
Called the farewell. That as soon as you stop listening to the Asia. You go out for. And then you can thank me later when OK that's what's going to happen. Good person sitting here that you don't already know its Aqua Fina that she is the star of this movie. And I'm a lick her kick it off I'm just in effect. That when I saw her and I'm used to you've been seen yeah. You are. And I'm just watching and I. She we can in this is a drama. And keep doing this and he did not sign to make us laugh now. And then I stop paying attention the second time I read paid attention. Writer that. She's cry. It was. We got grandmother. It's this is a story about the yen and share all it you have Graham and the like did and I'm presuming you do mean. We just had nothing but Lott a loved 100%. Yet they can say anything to us because they don't. They don't and he felt as the rutelli get is still how does this become a movie that you're in. I'll I mean you know I am. What I read the scripts first it was in his right after I I did notions age mutant so you know II I was I was very curious as to what would be next and and it it showed up in my email my manager send it over and and and he's very serious not this kind of avenues like I'm I'm tell you it's about reading. And I opened it and it at that time the title was nigh night which means drama. And at a very special knowledge of my gram I was I was raised by her she's my best friend you know she's someone is very very important in my life. And none I just couldn't imagine that a script like this can exist written and directed by Asian American women and then it continue to blow my mind that I really was it is a true story. It actually happened and this is that a Lulu wings' blue line yes yes she is incredible and yeah this happen there. And it it's in a way kind of ongoing still. And and I was I was really blown away by that at and seen a script or story like that and you know really wasn't a question of lake whether I wanted to do drama it wasn't like. One and look up and out like I wanted to drama you know have it rocked me yeah and if I want yes it really drop back if it. It tablet like that I I don't care what the genre was I I would've done in any way. Because it I felt like I needed to do. Welcome to interest thing because your character Billy she is you know living in New York. And she really hasn't gone back to chat yes totally but. Everybody is gone home to Seagram yet. Because basically they known that chief doctor Nabil lives well yet. And the premise that seems to be part of the culture is that if a relative like in this case program as a terminal diagnosis yet. We don't care what we just don't say yes and your character has a real hard time. With lines especially to someone she. She loves so much yet how do you do and how do you do you know and what she learns is that the lie is not with holding. The lie is. Protecting her. From that that emotional bird. And the young you know I didn't understand it as like myself. When I first heard of that I I thought it was very. Outrageous and I couldn't imagine doing that and someone I loved but it took me going there seeing that the love that Lulu has for her family but also that. We had for this prayer for our for our own families to understand that. When you withholds stuff that literally is. We're we're taking that burden for you and so I understand he both sides I can't say that light culled do that. You know my ground all of B. Taste yet Al. You might be read the shooting but at this and I my grandma grew up with that. What that cultural. Facts like gee she knew that to be true I watched him weather and she was like watching that might is sandwiched between my hand to my grandma my atlas like. Don't my aunts el salvadorians is like they do not do this is in saint. And I don't like do. What have you been hurt my work they do that if an outlet always wanted to do it usually you battered you know. Not wanted none of them handled participated. So you do this you'd take on this part may you go to China yet. The huge area and you're speaking. Mandarin yet. Yet that mischief comes need you now enough people know I'd wanna hear that it was just say how I was able to do. Anyone that has studied Mandarin world you know it's not. If it's like crazy I'm not trying my gender equity even if you're not advocate how would you immediately got up and had just learned that not. Her anger at the ticket but I. He counseled I'd I learned it myself when I won over Beijing. Like in college as I did like a study abroad there. And and I was like the foundation I was it was I I was really in to hear about Chinese and insecure about. You know what what this may be like I mean obviously people know me as. Not not that so I was I was in insecure about that and then also. I what is one specific thing the title Lulu like I I don't think I can cry like I as an actress might hide. I'm really never in the last time I asked to do that is like at a chicken exploding like it was like a come a comic crying and I am OK I just didn't know whether chickens eggs. We're not knowing what an immediate minute cartoon I don't remember that I was was about. And I really feeling Chung and I told Lulu before going to China like listen in on the street I don't think you do that. And when I got to China it's like. All that stuff does. Those where he is is releasing very shallow when you realizing the material at hand. And also the kind of like the interpersonal journey that one goes through when their American and Asian American in the go back. You know like it is a moving experience it in it makes the story like. In May discern more real. And I think that like that fear that I couldn't cry I was crying during blocking. I could I could. I could hold and Lugar went out of it she's like yeah like they did think. It. I. Hope that added an island I was. After likely to get likely we gonna take Democrat like. Ha call up against the Walt like breathing heavily it was very intense for me and it was it was embassy. An elated and it like it was it was it was embassy and its cooler. With also this very like personal connect light conjuring up a lot of things from my own past to add to form miscarriage it was a very it was a weirdest and people they'll have senior shows see you increase view Asians Arabs day. And there have been they're going to wait it's happens to people who do comedy where the expectation is that yeah sir you don't fully intend. At all the aren't. Here's the thing I you know I really I I am I you know I I worked with actors who. They they've given me like in incredible tips like how they prepare for and it's an a lot of time is very intensive it's like a lot of research and a lot of like getting into the character but. I think that I've been preparing for bill in my whole life you know. In a way you know and Lulu was never possessive over like this is me tell you she never was like that and and when it turned out to be is billions of vessel. For any Asian American who has felt like at one foot in the door what went out. And and has had had to go through something like this where they've had to negotiate their cultures and I've been through situations maybe not like this but but similar. And I think that the way that I ended up playing Billy was as if I was going through. Yes you know and and so I think that there's an there's a new goodness there's neutrality. She is tough she's not gonna give in but. There's she's always thinking you know there's always something in there that keeps her there and I and I don't know like. When I watch it I I I I think I watched like Billy it's not like it's not me you know it's like last and first yearly she's not an act like his. You know but I don't know I. It's it seemed to make sense we have to trust moved it don't you Italian victims say I shot with this disease. My leg that was that was that yeah it is not OK I have for here. Behalf I just it's all right you can't keep doing. But yeah I don't know what I think that she's relatable because of that neutrality I think. The toughness because I think we ought to play so you Warner grandmother lived with you. At my my mom passed I was four years old my grandma stepped in there is mean and yes at a before she. She is my savior you know you need to me I was I was very young and so. My Graham lake. We don't have that a very stereotypical relationship like. Going to grandma's house and she's gonna make cookies and you're gonna eat well and you want to please stay over I don't want they over Italy's Napoli and you know. It's it's more than like I I collar about career it's like I like she might businessman like like my drama as it is every. Her for me she's my best friend. And so I know its flights have this really special relationship with someone. Who you know may not women would like with you anymore and is getting older beaten and I think it it really taught me. This movie Tommy like maybe confronts and then I didn't want to confront witches. Losing my era you know. Well nobody nobody wants to know when it's impossible to want to begin to be ready for that that person is there for you yeah well for shot. He chief he. She hit it yet I can't it's just I think about my own grammar and she didn't move anything Alley she could she say. Well I know what ever this look like they're the best people to go four for like like in the sentences of an enemy Newton where everyone alive you your grandma will be like taken off. But yes no yes can now my Graham I'll watch it with me and just at at the public. Like the climax of the film she just the Shiite unceremoniously. And I would probably going to that I attic at its I have. I have at Eaton to you can't. This I I didn't is movie. Like literally show I went to tie up. For a product that I'm showing you this movie doesn't know let me. Like I edited my butt hurts. It was. It was the perfect. Metaphorical. Agent Hendrick and showing their grandma like there's success at this. Now they're lazy parent does exactly that and they like he and bad again can couldn't. I just wondered if he goes for me when I go on vacation it didn't think it would hit it great bell led by her fat and. Neither had any idea anti if infinity. Eight fill she which he gave him an emotional reaction to them. Thinking she must you know it was weird because my grandma's side and she really saw the humor which what I thought was really cool. She saw the humor and that lose I can and then as it's so ridiculous that they're going in for like this wedding in. And it was fun with a lot of funny things that are happening yet but I've never seen a movie with her where like. They're subtitles obviously. But like she would sometimes be light and you know when she just said. He and it's like we know what she's presented data this thing was she didn't need to subtitles she is watching the movie. Adding like the coolest moment about what she turned into is like. You know and I energizes and bad. Because she would make fun of my Chinese back. And you always say it like when I wanted to and I children in this to that but you're Chinese. Let me get a Dell Canada at that they not act like cats that they not. Within a week I would get a call Lou I've got a basic act now yet so it's but that was a good compliment from me. Because I've always wanted to learn Chinese and topped herself she understood. Do you get any of your own off the wall humor from her yet yes. Yes because you know she's live in there with you she's seeing you you're. Out and out. You might come as a shock to a lot of people who are senior the first and a shock yeah but still it would be. Penal colony he Mon Nara. They're likely just got a dollar in on its inventing it because if you large door lomb is at. You know when you're not profane yet I have yet I can cause you years there. We are hopeful about it it's our attitude is what it exhibit at active list I thought maybe you would've weekend. That mean when you were doing theories. But she didn't use and this is one going to be. He adds it's that's always a question that comes up. I think that when I eat what I get builds up Levine as a tribute to that girl you know that later did he get maker I did yeah yeah. You know I'd and I didn't choose Nora. The great name. I may not know that. I didn't believe her and that I believe it or think it's every scene in yeah. I think it's not more. But yet I think it's I'm not ready yet to said that. You know I think that that's still that. Atlanta there's also that fear that that that's like the other two different people. Ask you do and then you're doing this year. Yet based on. Yeah yeah. For sure. Florida yes but the light of talking if yet and an exit. You know so yes exactly. Okay there have to be little there in the what you get through it a little. That you know it will all be a hit and Adam. It took you. I'm happy I'm happy you should be paying figures on them. But this was prize. Hall it was just racing to line. Effort tonight Ian and you happened yet thank you sir for continuing. However it turns you know I won't give him. Think you'll be empty. Still rules are and a lot like her grandmother. Will be like a parking lot I. They had edit it at it stars couldn't do it. Anyway we do have two questions I think from outside world. The what if that's their call untraceable pieces. I was ugly cry just watching that are. How many times real tear tears fall while the cast it was me. A lot a lot of great things you. For me. I say yeah adds there was I really cool mean. That that that happened which like. When I would cry my mom Angela and would cry just because she wasn't written and usually do it for she was off camera. She would cry too. And and it was can pay uncle cry because it was Kent is an empathy. Bath spray and I almost felt like total wreck your olive oil and aren't Ike and all of us an idea let's let's get when more that you treat for your question to Sherry Marx's. What does it mean you'd be part of what looks like in the good read them representing Asian human. I beat it feels incredible you know I think that. There isn't there is a spectrum of the kind of stories that we take ownership of and that we can tell. And I think historically like Asian American cinema is always existed but. It it really hasn't been until reason that that this many eyes are being paid. Like to these stories and so that's that's an amazing. And I and I really just hope it continues they've been our stories continues until. I think it's good. I worked crazier occasions and really working for this walk yet and when I say I was feeling proud I think everybody. That the but it doesn't mean. You need to stop new. Yet I'll I'll I'll I don't know how to stop me now just haven't come in an idiot and can't take it and weak about it. Screw us exact that whipped it I don't care what are we gonna thing this time in the show. I don't think I can ever be my version of my that you know I don't think so but you can try again scene still on the women did. I was I was I was. And mortified is like not the war I don't like it or not with Alan until it was an out of like I love this alma. I felt that later. I. You what you're on and know what I can't match that so I'm thinking that this movie. Must've inspired you in some kind of used in here a day you can give me it's like he said it any language you use. Okay. RA. Geez okay RA. Yet my baggage. Was a real farewell. Yeah would come down on Friday and it. Billy are you not same bitter I've had ready but I didn't even under preliminary reading incident even. OK my bad at bat in theaters this Friday in theaters this ride and I Eli hi how you doubling. Or are you gonna come in with your own it that's what heaven the last what did not agree with a mind I'd let you completely turned on me. Attend unprovoked personal. A pilot with Latin and a name rhymes something was Friday. OK not eye and I am sort of break it to be two warrants. So it can be like highway look at our apartment on at. Nine pads in theaters this Friday my yellow bands. That he is every day. That's what he didn't let. OK. With you. Why not punching bag at her. That he'd been hit like he had never heard work. In her life if not what are the key. I is by. Principal and bought it didn't cut thing I won't tolerate I think. I love you I didn't like I know I'm Beirut. We'll get a lot of who knows what. I don't know how awesome and more prepared. You know could. They've created.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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